Have you gone a-mothering today? Chances are you haven’t. And never will. Unless of course, you are a Catholic or Protestant Christian, who has returned to the church in which you were baptised, for a commemorative Laetare Sunday service? Or perhaps you are a domestic servant who has been granted a whole day off to visit church with your mother and other family members? Now that’s more like it. Well, the domestic servant bit.
Fortunately for Jews, Moslems or any other creed, that’s about as far as the religious significance of the day goes. Secularised beyond recognition, forget Mothering Sunday – these days it’s more of a Smothering Mumday. Another commercial coup, which sets out to massage the maternal ego, as far as your children’s cherished pocket money will stretch. But if you chomp your way through the chocolate, forage your way through the flowers and sniff your way through the smellies, you might just notice Mum in all of this and celebrate her, not least for the domestic servant she was destined to be. And you would have Constance Penswick-Smith to thank for that. For in the 1920’s, in true American style, she gallantly led a movement to revive the traditions of Mothering Sunday. Hardly life or death, but it’s thanks to Connie that you got breakfast in bed today.
And so Mothering Sunday has evolved into what it is today. A day when children must try extra hard to show love and appreciation towards their mums, with or without bribery. Or failing that, a day when they should at least try to behave for a few hours. A day when Mums should be waited-upon, spoiled, pampered and fed [preferably with cake]. A day when social media sites crash, due to the sheer volume of competitive crap and maternal mush uploaded onto every stream. A special day. A fun day. A happy day. And controversially, Mothering Sunday is the one day in the year when your Other Half simply has to get it right. It’s difficult to mess up, surely? Step inside any store and he won’t fail to notice bed upon beds of over-priced flowers, row upon rows of chocolate box treats and shelf upon shelves of seasonal tat, which will undoubtedly find their way to the reduced aisle come midnight. No pressure then.
But it struck me today [of all days], that with or without the fondant fancies, the stuffed teddies or the scented bath bombs, with or without the love, gratitude or thanks, the hype is hypocritical and the pressure is pointless. I am the lucky one, simply by virtue of being a Mum and having one too. And whilst today has been no different to any other day, maybe next year, I’ll honour my children with breakfast in bed. Just because.